ANDERSON, Ind. — It was only days before my first race of the season, which was the April 8 Glen Niebel Classic at Anderson Speedway.
It would begin my 21st season as a driver and my first as an official team owner. Mixed emotions fluttered internally. As a driver, I could not have been more excited. I was confident; mentally and physically prepared. The weeks without racing seem to have passed in the slow lane.
Yet, as an owner, I found myself anxious, tense and resolute after all the hard work my guys had put in during the months leading up to the beginning of the 500 Sprint Car Tour season. Ironically, as an owner the offseason flew by and we wished for more time to prepare. But the moment was here as we prepared to load the trailer.
Fuel stick? Check.
Wheel wrench? Check.
Engine heater? Check.
Freshly rebuilt Bradford Allen/Beast/Stanton Mopar 410 sprint car? CHECK!
With that, allow me to provide greater insight to what has been accomplished at the Taylor Ferns Racing headquarters in a few short months.
December 2022: Began the process of relocating race cars, machinery and race shop essentials from Michigan to Indiana; took delivery of a dirt Silver Crown car from Beast Chassis.
January 2023: Acquired, assembled and organized race shop and race shop materials to ensure efficient and effective work environment.
February 2023: Began work on pavement sprint car and dirt and pavement Silver Crown machines.
March 2023: Race car preparation continued.
April 2023: Wrapped race cars with new graphics and completed preparations for upcoming races.
Throughout all this time, parts were being ordered, numerous trips to Indianapolis and Kentucky were made to pick up items, networking events were attended to promote sponsors and the upcoming race season, and we worked on arranging the race shop accordingly.
In these moments and when encountering roadblocks to getting all that we needed, I reminded myself that if it were easy, everyone would do it, and the gritty characteristics I possess and the great people I surrounded myself with are what led me to this point in my life, on and off the race track.
As I checked over the sprint car before rolling it into the “box,” I felt a sense of pride in everything that had been done to my cars during the offseason. It was a direct reflection upon the meeting of the minds among me, Kevin Besecker, Keith Hoseapple, Justin Upchurch, my sponsors, affiliates and the endless number of vendors with which we do business.
At the same time, it is not time to rest on our laurels. That moment of pride will come when we are in victory lane, a goal I firmly believe is achievable at every race we enter.
As the offseason is in the rearview mirror and we look toward the remainder of the year, I choose to live in the moment, enjoy the process and remember that I am so fortunate to continue to pursue my passion.
A lot of blood, sweat and tears have been put into building these race cars and facilitating the Indiana race shop. I hope to make it all worthwhile for my crew, sponsors and family who sacrificed so much to build this team.
I believe we are going to reap the rewards of all the hard work and that this will be our best season yet. You know what they say, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
The hard work started paying off with a runner-up finish in the Glen Niebel Classic.
“Champions don’t become champions when they win an event, but in the hours, weeks, months, and years they spend preparing for it.” — Michael Jordan
This story appeared in the April 26, 2023 edition of the SPEED SPORT Insider.